American torrenters beware: a six-strike anti-piracy plan will go into effect on Monday, February 25. The plan, called the Copyright Alert System (CAS), was created in coordination with the entertainment industry and will operate on AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon services.
The Center for Copyright Information (CCI), the organization which is putting the six-strikes scheme together, launched a new website and a video to explain how the program works.
The five major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will implement a graded system of punishments for users found to have violated online copyright six times or more. Punishments will begin with “educational” notices and reminders. Repeat violations may result in an ISP slowing Internet browsing speeds or temporarily blocking access to the Internet.
AT&T will take a particularly hands-on approach, The Verge reports, by blocking access to popular websites until a violating customer completes an online copyright course. Repeat infringers will also have their IP addresses handed over the lawsuit-happy MPAA and RIAA.
Users can appeal an alert if they feel they’ve been wrongly accused of copyright infringement.
To appeal, a user must file with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) within 14 days of a notice on their ISP. Users must also pay a $35 fee to have their alerts reviewed. The $35 will be refunded and the associated notices will be withdrawn if the appeal is successful.
There are, however, ways to keep an ISP and major copyright holders from monitoring a user’s activity online and could limit the efficacy of the six-strike system. A Virtual Private Network or a proxy could successfully hide the identification of a file-sharing user, according to Torrentfreak.
The system has had an arduous history and was supposed to launch in late 2011, Torrentfreak‘s Ernesto reports. That deadline passed and the system was delayed to mid-2012 and then late-2012. The CCI claims the last delay was due to Hurricane Sandy, but Torrentfreak suspects the delay had more to do with getting all of the parties involved to act within a timely manner.